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Social Media Strategy Requires a Strategist

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Feb 11, 2013 @ 20:02 PM

Social Media Needs Strategy

I recently read highlights of a survey by Ragan Communications and NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions assessing how some 2700 organizations – for-profit, non-profit and government – are implementing social media. The study makes clear that, in general, the respondents are taking a tactical approach. There is very little strategy.

This is because it seems that they are not recognizing the value of having a social media specialist – let alone a strategist -- handle this part of today’s marketing mix.

Here are two pieces of data that are particularly interesting to this inbound marketing consultant.

  • Sixty five percent of the surveyed organizations pile social media on top of other responsibilities, while only 27 percent have someone who focuses exclusively on social media.
  • Seventy percent of respondents are either "dissatisfied" or only "somewhat satisfied" with how they measure their social media efforts, compared to a mere 31 percent who are "satisfied" or "very satisfied." Many don’t make the time and resources available to track data and/or admit that they don’t even know what to track.

The scary part of this for marketers and those charged with getting bottom line results is that social media constitutes only a fraction of the marketing mix in our digital age.

According to colleague Paul Roetzer, founder and CEO of PR 2020 and author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint, this is all part of a larger issue – a talent gap that’s impeding successful marketing implementation – for both marketing agencies and their clients.

Today’s marketer needs to be a hybrid beast – a copyrighter, an analytics expert, a Pay Per Click advertising pro, a website designer and user experience consultant and much more. The hybrid marketer doesn’t have to DO everything – that’s impossible.

But they have to understand the big picture and know what to assess, what channels should be considered for a particular campaign or an overall marketing plan. They need to understand how Buyer Personae figure into targeting and messaging and brand positioning.

Paul Roetzer addressed a bunch of his fellow HubSpot partners last week on this talent gap topic and cited an eye-opening statistic: Consumers consult 10.4 information sources before making a purchase as opposed to half that number in 2010.

This means that companies have to get their acts together to intersect with customer journeys – the cross channel, multi device paths that customers control and that lead to their buying decisions.

That’s what Inbound Marketing does. And it takes more than someone in marketing communications being tasked with ‘doing social media’ on top of their other responsibilities.

There are increasingly robust tools available to leverage lean in-house resources. Check out -- an enterprise level tech platform that can continuously profile millions of website visitors and use the information to fuel in-the-moment dialogues that guide the customer journey.

But before you can implement the right tools, you need to understand why you need them in the first place. This requires acknowledging that marketing has changed, and that we need different talent to create and implement winning programs.

Part of it is evolving hiring criteria for in-house and agency resources. Companies also have to create silo-breaking training for marketing personnel that makes seeing the big picture the foundation for success.

While you're here download our Social Media Whitepaper with our compliments.

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The image at the top of this post is from the Flickr Photostream of cambodia4kidsorg under Creative Commons license.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Ellie Becker, Inbound Marketing Strategy, Social Media Strategy, BlueConic, Paul Roetzer

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